Small, clay tiles will become a ceramic quilt after this year’s Arts on the Square.
“We want kids, adults and every age in between to get their hands in the clay,” said Marci Reynolds, president of the Waupaca Community Arts Board.
The arts board sponsors the annual arts festival, and this year’s schedule of workshops includes one titled “The Fabric of Our Community.”
From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 18, people will be able to use fabric and other items to add a bit of creativity to the individual clay tiles.
Terry Achten will lead the workshop in the parking lot behind City Hall.
Achten is a local carpenter and potter.
He first began doing pottery when he was in high school and went on to study art at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
“I’ve had a studio pretty much my whole married life,” said Achten, who lives in rural Waupaca with his wife Barb. “I just go from one thing to another in clay.”
The owner of Hammer City Carpentry said it was natural for him to go into carpentry. His father built homes and cottages.
In his business, Achten likes to incorporate clay tiles into projects.
During the Aug. 18 workshop, people will get to roll out the clay tiles and then decorate them.
Plans call for 100 tiles in all.
“Then, we will glaze them and fire them afterwards and then mount them to be displayed somewhere in the community,” he said. “We will probably put it on display in the library and then find a permanent space for it.”
While each square will be an individual design, Acthen said that the glazing will bring it al together.
“It will look like a quilt,” Reynolds said. “That’s why it’s being called the fabric of our community.”
Achten has been working with Reynolds and her husband Fran Rademacher to perfect the clay designing process to make it easiest for the youngsters who participate.
For Achten, this will not be the first time he is helping children work with clay at the arts festival.
At the last two Arts on the Square events, he had a table full of clay.
Children were able to work with it and create such things as people and buildings.
“We called it Sim City Waupaca,” Achten said. “Some kids spent two hours there.”
This year, he will again let children make what they want.
“I’ll try to guide them as little as possible,” he said. “We will have some already done so they will have an idea of what they will look like.”
Plastic forks, knives and spoons will serve as the tools.
Achten spends time in his studio each week.
“A cup of coffee in the evening equals a few hours of clay time,” he said.
He creates such things as tableware, custom funeral urns, knitting bowls and butter dishes.
“I get ideas and pursue them,” said Achten, who sells his pottery at the Waupaca Community Arts Center and at Tomorrow River Gallery in Amherst.
He looks forward to helping others discover the joy of working with clay.
“Clay is soft and takes any impression you want to give it, and then, it becomes a permanent record of what was done to it, like a fossil,” Achten said. “I like that. I just like the impermanence of it in the beginning.”